BHS logoCemeteries in Bothwell and District



The Bothwell cemetery is of significant historical value and is also the home to a number of threatened and endangered plant species.  Bothwell has a general cemetery managed by the local government body.  This is unusual: most early Tasmanian towns have cemeteries maintained by the churches.  The first church was built with government assistance for the joint use of all Protestant denominations, and the cemetery was located around this church (St Luke’s).  The Historical Records of Australia make mention of a Bothwell cemetery in 1827.  Unfortunately there are no proper burial plot records until much later.  Unless there is a headstone it is not known where people were buried in the cemetery.

The first burials are recorded in the Presbyterian register started by the Rev.  James Garrett.  The earliest record is dated 1st November, 1829, for James Foster, the son of James Foster of Woodville.  James Foster Snr. sailed on the "Triton" from Scotland in 1824 and brought out black cattle for Dennistoun.

The oldest headstone is for James Dean who died on 27th March 1834, aged 25 years, the assigned servant to John Sherwin of Sherwood.  The two convict servants who were killed in 1831 during an aboriginal attack at Kemp’s Hut, Interlaken, are listed but not named in this register.  They were William Carter and Moses Boss, the latter, a gypsy.  They have no headstone.

The Anglican register was started in 1841 by the Rev Thomas Wigmore.  The first burial was for James Farrow aged 7 years.  Of the fifteen burials listed on the first page, eleven are for children.  In a twelve month period, 1853-54, twelve children died from scarlet fever.  Other causes of death listed in the registers include “a continual course of excessive intemperance”.  Others died from lung complaints, such as consumption (tuberculosis), or accidents, particularly drownings and burns.

Before the advent of a resident Anglican clergyman, burials were recorded by the relevant Anglican minister in his own register.  He was usually from either Green Ponds (Kempton) or Hamilton.  The Bothwell Historical Society holds copies of both the Bothwell registers, which are also held by the Archives Office of Tasmania in Hobart.

The Tasmanian Family History Society has copied the headstones in the district and these are listed in TAMIOT.  This listing is available from the Bothwell Historical Society, the TFHS and also the Archives Office of Tasmania.  The TAMIOT map is extremely difficult to understand.  The Central Highlands Council office in Alexander Street  has a more user-friendly map showing where the headstones are located – but no transcriptions.  It also holds a list of some burials for which there is no headstone.  It has a plan for later burials.

There has never been a Roman Catholic resident priest in Bothwell and all Catholic burials are recorded in other registers.

The Wesleyan Methodist Church and grounds, which once stood in Dennistoun Road, held a crypt and some headstones.  These have now disappeared.  These burials were entered in the Methodist Church records for New Norfolk.

The Nicholas family were the earliest settlers and their graves are directly behind St. Luke’s Church.  The Reid family of Ratho, who established golf in Australia, also have an imposing monument.  William North and Robert Blake were transported for machine-breaking in 1831 but both prospered here.  They married daughters of Edward Bowden.  The North family has erected one of the more imposing headstones.

The most famous person with a plaque in the Bothwell cemetery is Dr Grote Reber, the “father of radio astronomy” who lived in Bothwell for many years.


Other cemeteries in the Bothwell district

Apsley St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church.  This church is no longer in use but has some graves and dedicated windows.

Shannon – there were a few burials at the Shannon Chapel beside the Shannon River, opposite the Hermitage.  This has now been demolished.  The Bothwell Historical Society has a list of some of these burials.  They are also listed on a plaque at the site.

Dennistoun (property) – the oldest burials are in a private cemetery at Dennistoun.  This cemetery was for the Wood family, their relatives and employees.  Captain Patrick Wood emigrated from Scotland on the ship, the Castle Forbes, arriving in 1822.

Forest Green (property) – the Tod family had a private graveyard here and some headstones remain.

Montacute (property) – St. James’ Anglican Church at Montacute has a graveyard with burials mostly associated with the surrounding properties.


Mary Ramsay, Historian

Bothwell Historical Society

c. 2008